This is the text of a Christmas service for people – especially children – who experience the world differently, and their families. Thank you very much to those who helped me. I am posting it so that the families and individuals who are planning to come along can prepare themselves, so that they can be comfortable that they know what is going to happen.
Meg welcomes everyone to church and explains the service.
- During this service, you will need the service booklet that explains what we are going to do and has the words of the songs;
- It is OK to move around the church during this service;
- If you need some time out, that is fine. The hall at the back of church is open with things to do;
- There are toilets in the lobby area if you need to find them.
We sing a Carol. Carols are special songs we sing at Christmas when we are remembering Jesus being born.
Carol: O little town of Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a little village near Jerusalem in Israel.
A long time ago, two thousand years ago, a woman called Mary was expecting a baby.
She and her husband Joseph had to walk a long way to get to Bethlehem.
They had to go there because the Romans wanted to count everyone by family.
When they got to Bethlehem, the baby was just about to be born.
They needed a safe place to go.
There were so many people that the family guest room was full of people and noisy.
So the family made room for them in the animal shelter, which was quieter.
The animals were all outside.
The baby was born and Mary wrapped him up in cloths to keep him warm.
Mary and Joseph didn’t have all the things you need to look after a new baby, so they made a bed for the baby in the feeding trough or manger.
Carol: Little donkey
Someone will bring you a piece of fleecy fabric.
Activity and Prayer:
Now we are going to do an activity to help us think about the prayer I am going to say.
Our activity is about getting ready for a new baby and our prayer is about asking God to help all mams and new babies.
This orange box is our manger and we are going to use it to make a cradle ready for the baby Jesus. Take the piece of warm fabric you have just been given and lay it in the manger to make a warm, safe, comfortable place for the baby. Today we are using a doll to represent the baby Jesus. Mary and Joseph didn’t have a cradle for their baby, so they had to use what was there, so they used the manger.
As we make the cradle ready for the baby Jesus, think about all the families who find it difficult to get ready for their babies coming.
I will now say a prayer for babies, mams and families:
Father in Heaven, thank you for the birth of Jesus your Son.
Please look after all mothers with new babies,
and all those who are waiting for babies to be born.
Look after all the babies and help them grow well and happy.
Be with all our families. Amen
Someone will place baby Jesus in the cradle we have made.
Carol: Away in a manger
Someone will bring you a battery candle.
Activity and Prayer:
It was night time when Jesus was born, and it was dark outside.
We sometimes talk about Jesus being the light of the world, the light that shines for us when our lives seem dark and difficult.
So I invite you now to think about someone who finds life dark and difficult.
Switch on the battery candle you have just been given and put it on the ground near the cradle we made. Then I will say prayer for people who are finding life difficult.
Someone will say this prayer:
Dear God, please help everyone who finds life dark and difficult at the moment.
Let Jesus be a light for them in the darkness, so that they can see the way to being safe.
Help them not to be sad or worried.
Help them to trust in you.
And help us when things are confusing and difficult.
Be with us always. Amen
Carol: Silent night
In the fields near Bethlehem there were shepherds minding their sheep.
It was night, and they sat round the fire together and talked about the day.
Then something amazing happened.
The dark sky suddenly became bright, and the shepherds could see that there were angels singing and dancing in the sky.
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven!’ they sang.
One angel told the shepherds that a special baby had been born in Bethlehem.
The angel told the shepherds how to find the baby.
So the shepherds went into the village of Bethlehem, and they found baby Jesus lying in the manger, with Mary and Joseph.
The shepherds went and told everyone they met about the special baby.
Carol: While shepherds watched their flocks by nigh
The shepherds weren’t the only visitors.
Far away, in another country, which may have been Persia, there were wise men who studied the stars and the patterns the stars made in the sky.
Some people think the wise men were kings, but we don’t really know that.
Some people think there were three of them, but we don’t really know that.
A new star appeared in the sky, which was especially bright.
They decided that the new star meant that a really important king had been born.
They wanted to visit the king.
They travelled a long way, following the star all the way.
When they got to Jerusalem, they asked King Herod where the new king had been born.
King Herod thought that Bethlehem was a good place to look, so the wise men went there.
Sure enough, the wise men found the baby Jesus and they gave him presents: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Carol: We three kings of Orient are
Someone will bring you a yellow star shape and a pen so you can use to write or draw on the star
Activity and Prayer:
Stars are important at Christmas because the star led the wise men to Jesus.
We also say that some people are ‘stars’, because they are special people who make us feel good and happy.
Think about the ‘stars’ in your life, the people who make you feel good and happy.
Write their names on the yellow star. Or draw them.
Hang your star on the special Christmas tree.
Someone will say this prayer:
Thank you God for all the people who are good and kind and helpful.
Thank you for the people we love and the ones who love us.
Thank you for Jesus, who loved us all so much.
Help us all to be stars that shine in our world. Amen
The story of Jesus has inspired lots of people to do good and kind things.
Once upon a time there was a king in Bohemia called Wenceslas.
It was the day after Christmas and the weather was really bad.
Wenceslas went out into the snow and ice to take some food to a poor peasant.
His page could hardly keep up with him in the bad weather, and had to follow his footsteps.
The next carol tells that story.
Carol: Good King Wenceslas
Ssomeone says a prayer and a blessing prayer:
When the waiting is over and the child is born
When the shepherds have gone back to the fields
When the Magi have left their gifts and returned to distant lands
When Mary and Joseph have fled Herod’s wrath –
Keep our hearts open, O God, to the call of your Kingdom. Amen
Let your light shine for us so we can follow you
Let your light shine around us so we know that you are with us
Let your light shine in us so we can light up the world.
Go with us and bless us in all that we do,
Now and always. Amen
Carol: We wish you a merry Christmas